Saturday, June 30, 2007

More updates coming soon

So I still don't have regular Internet access here in DC. I have yet to ask what I am allowed to do on the work computers, and while I just discovered the public library, I haven't gone there yet. For now, I rely on the few hours a day my roomies and I are all home and awake and I can use one of their laptops.

Washington is awesome. I haven't really done much sightseeing yet, and haven't been to a museum (one of those two things will happen tomorrow. I'm determined), but I have time. I think.

Last night my friend Steve, who I met at the internship training camp and who is working at the Washington Times this summer, met me for dinner at a great Thai place in Chinatown and we wound up walking all the way back to my house. Google maps says that work (which is about six blocks from Chinatown) is two miles from home, but it didn't seem that far. We were walking around and kind of came across the Capitol and realized that from where we were, home wasn't much farther than the subway station, so we just walked all the way up Capitol Hill to my house. The Capitol is gorgeous at night. It really is a pretty building all the time. I can't wait until I have time to go take the tour.

The roomies, Steve and I wound up going out to find a bar last night in the neighborhood Adams-Morgan, which we'd been told was the place to be on Friday nights. It seemed cool, but I bet it's kind of dirty during the day. There are lots of bars and clubs there, but for various reasons, we didn't go to any. There are also ethnic restaurants of every variety. A lot of the businesses have signs that appear to be in arabic (or related languages). I might go down there one day and try some of the restaurants. I thought it was fun just to see all that stuff, but the crowds were a bit overwhelming, especially given how drunk everyone was.

So in a few minutes, we're going to the zoo. I've already been there, but it's fun and there were a lot of things I didn't see last time. The pandas are awesome, though.

At some point, I will try to post more pictures, but it'll be difficult since my roomies use PCs, meaning that I can't download from my camera without installing the software, which I of course, don't have with me. I think one of the friends who lives here might have a mac, and if so, I may be able to get some of the photos on here. Tomorrow, I'll probably go check out some of the monuments and memorials.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Day One in DC!

After what seemed like the longest car ride of my life from Chapel Hill to Washington, D.C., I arrived in Washington at 5:15 today. My introduction to my new apartment involved my key not working. The housing office was closed for the weekend by then and I didn't have an emergency number. I let the woman who drove me here leave and called my friend Lila while I waited for my roommates to come home. As I sat outside with my bags, I called the housing office to leave an angry message about being locked out of the apartment.

At that moment, who should walk by? Ron Wyden, the Democratic Senator from Oregon. I've met Ron Wyden many times and he's a great guy. I toured the art museum on the UO campus with him and wrote about it for the paper. I should have said hi, but was too busy trying to leave my message. It's never that unusual to see Wyden in Eugene because he's always visiting, but somehow seeing a real-life Senator walk past my apartment in DC made it all the more real that I'm actually here. Now, if only Obama would walk by so I could introduce myself, I'd be in heaven. I think I mentioned that I've heard he lives nearby. Rumor has it that John Ashcroft also lives near me. Interesting times.

After my roomies got here, I took a trip on the metro (subway) to go buy a blanket and sheets for my bed. It was very easy.

As I walked home from the subway, I realized just how close I am to the Capitol. I knew before I got here that I would only be a few blocks away, but I hadn't seen it yet (it's kind of around a corner and there are trees in the way). I was confronted by a lovely sight that I can't show you because I can't figure out how to copy a photo from my cell phone onto blogger. I'll post photos soon.

I took a short walk and took photos of the Capitol, got a huge geeky smile when I realized that the Shakespeare library is right down the street, and completely freaked out when I saw the Supreme Court. I'm just unbelievably excited about this.

After my walk, I took the metro back to Chinatown, where I'd purchased my bedding, to meet my friend Lila for dinner. She'd already eaten but was kind enough to come sit with me while I ate delicious Thai food at a little place around the corner from the metro station.

Tomorrow, I visit the zoo. I need to do something relaxing that doesn't require brain power. Looking at pandas seems like just the thing.

I start work Monday! I'm in love with this town already, awful traffic and all.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Final Countdown

I leave for DC in twelve hours. Originally, the plan was for me to fly from North Carolina to DC and arrive around 2 p.m., but one of the professors of the copy editing camp has to drive there anyway and she offered me a ride. I'm always up for a road trip, and I had NO idea how I was going to get from the airport to my apartment anyway, so I agreed. The airline is crediting the cost of the ticket to me, so I won't have to pay for my entire return trip in September.

I can't believe that I'll be there tomorrow. The idea that I will be walking past the Supreme Court tomorrow night blows my mind. I'm just thrilled. I have to say, I think I got the most exciting location of all the Dow Jones interns. Other people may be going to cities they really like, and I'm jealous of my camp roommate, who's going back to her own home and her own bed, but I can't imagine anyone being more excited than I am about DC.

I'm a tad homesick and I miss my cats, but once I get there, I'll be ok. The whole camp thing, sleeping in dorms, going out to eat for every meal, not sleeping enough, is really messing with my system. Once I settle in somewhere and cook my own food for a few days I'll be quite happy.

It'll be a couple of weeks before I can really do any of the touristy things, but I'll try to keep people updated. I can't wait to see Congress. I may go to a museum and/or the zoo this weekend. Stay posted for photos of the pandas!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


This is just a quick post to share some photos of the UNC campus. I'm in a hurry and they may be the wrong size, so I will adjust them later if necessary. I've given up trying to explain what they are because the text doesn't show up correctly. Mostly, I just think the architecture is awesome.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Week one down... almost

I can't believe how fast this training is going.

Six months ago, I couldn't quite believe this internship would ever start. Now I'm at the Friday of a two-week training and will be in DC in one week. At this time next week, I'll probably be having dinner with my friend Lila, who lives in DC. That, or riding the metro trying to find a place to buy a blanket and sheets for my bed.

I said this before, but I love the UNC campus so much. It's just gorgeous. I'd post some pictures, but I left my cell phone at the dorm to charge. I'll try and get some real ones this week on my "good" camera and post them.

Today I took a quick walk before going to dinner and passed the dorm building next to the one I'm staying in. A plaque on the wall said that it is the oldest state university building in the nation. The cornerstone was laid in 1793. It's a historical landmark. Two days ago, we got really bored and the RA in our building let us into this other building to watch TV in its lounge. So I can say that I watched TV in a building that is a historical landmark. Weird.

I was excited today to see another cardinal. They're such pretty little birds.

The highlight of my day was discovering a Jamba Juice inside one of the union buildings.

We work tomorrow and Sunday we go see the Durham Bulls(an AAA baseball team) play. I love minor league baseball. The Eugene Emeralds are only a single-A team and it's a lot of fun to go there. The fans are highly entertaining.

I e-mailed my DC roommates today. The girl I'll be sharing a room with (there are 4 of us in a two-bedroom apartment) is an intern at the DNC in Howard Dean's office. I'm very excited about this for two reasons: 1) If I had to share with a republican intern, it would be tough and 2)I love Howard Dean.

Time to go. Copy editing awaits.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Internship fun

I wanted to try to write something about my internship experience every day. Right now, I'm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina training for the internship. We only have a few hours a day (between whenever we wake up and 12 p.m.) to use computer labs and my roommate is not one of the people who brought a laptop.

So... I have yet to have time to sit down and write. Once I get to DC I'll probably have more computer access because I can get to a public library in the mornings.

For now, I'll say that the South is interesting. I've never been this far south or this far east before and I'm getting a nice, mild preview of what weather in DC will be like. I've resigned myself to feeling sticky and gross for three months.

This is a beautiful campus. I love the big old brick buildings, and there are tons of trees everywhere. It's all the things I love about the UO campus, but with different species of plants. There are squirrels everywhere. It's fun to see the animals that we don't have. I haven't found fireflies yet, but I saw a cardinal yesterday.

Time to get back to training.

Friday, June 08, 2007

It's not a choice

For various reasons that I won't list due to pretending to be "anonymous," I've been thinking a great deal about the issue of gay marriage today. Something occurred to me that's been totally obvious, but for some reason didn't quite click until today.

A lot of people vote for George Bush just on "family values" issues. They were so afraid of gay marriage that they voted for a guy who's doing more damage to foreign relations, the environment and the economy than possibly any president in history.

Here's my "well, no shit" revelation. This entire debate comes down to whether you believe being gay is a choice. If you do not believe it's a choice, you can't believe it's a sin, and therefore would have no problem with gay marriage. It amazes me that this one simple, tiny thing that should be so logical, is causing so much trouble and so much hatred in society.

Obviously other people who read this blog have written about this, from a more personal stance than I can offer, but I'm pissed off and can't say this to the person I want to say it to, so you guys get to read it.

I have never, not once in my life, questioned whether sexual identity is a choice. First of all, I didn't get to choose to be straight, so it never made sense to suggest you could choose to be gay. Clearly, you can't.

Some will say "But I know someone who was gay and he found god and got married to a woman and has 2.3 children and a white picket fence and a dog!" I say, that doesn't mean anything. A person can choose to ignore the fact that (choose the appropriate gender identity pronoun) is gay. A person can live a lie. A person can be confused and realize later that ((choose the appropriate gender identity pronoun) really is straight. But I do not believe a person can choose to be straight or gay. I know more than one gay man who pretended to be straight and a few who are married to women now because they can't be honest about who they are, for whatever reason. This does not mean they ARE straight.

Besides, the world's overpopulated and we're using up all the natural resources, destroying the ice caps and people are dying of famine all over the world. Maybe that's nature's plan for population control. If part of the population avoids heterosexual sex, the amount of pro-creation is somewhat manageable for the poor little planet.

I grew up in a really conservative, redneck town where being gay was dangerous. A man who was out of the closet in my high school was literally risking his life. I can't imagine what the gay men I knew in high school went through (it seemed to be slightly better for gay women, but somehow I doubt it really was). Why on earth would those guys have chosen that life if they had any option? Seriously. They were out of the closet because living a lie was harder than risking the wrath of the assholes we went to school with, but it wasn't pleasant.

It just blows my mind that people are so afraid of something that shouldn't matter. Why would anyone be bothered by who other people love? (If for some reason, you are reading this and you are the type of person who's going to give me the bullshit "what if I wanted to marry my dog/a child/my hummer" argument, we're never going to agree with one another, and you're an idiot.)

As far as I'm concerned, the more love in this world the better. I don't understand why anyone would have a problem with people who love each other enough to commit for their entire lives. It all comes down to this: homosexuality isn't a sin because it's not a choice. I be live in God but refuse to believe he would condemn people for being who they are, for something they do not control. It just isn't a sin. I have never heard a single argument against gay marriage that doesn't surround "The BIBLE SAYS...." I know what the Bible says. But I don't interpret it the same way.

So, to those people I really want to say this to: If you accept that being gay is not a choice, you'll see that it can't be a sin and will have to accept that there's no reason gay people shouldn't be married. Get over it. Who other people love/fuck has nothing to do with you, and allowing totally equality for every human being, including the right to marry, can only make the world a better place.

Get off your high horse, out of people's business and start thinking about other things. Like, how many people died in Darfur today? How are we going to fix the ice caps? How can we ensure our great-grandchildren have enough natural resources to enjoy the earth and not walk around in environment-protection suits and gas masks? How will we end war and feed the hungry and cure AIDS?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Almost there...

On Sunday, I will leave for my internship. I've known about it for so long it's hard to believe it's really happening. First it's two weeks in training at the University of North Carolina (this is a national internship so they train people on a regional basis), and then on June 22 I head off to DC.

I have a place to live in what I'm told is a fabulous neighborhood (I tried to google map it to put a link, but that doesn't seem to work). I'm on the same street as the Capitol and Senate offices(Constitution Ave. What a perfect address for a journalist), across from the Supreme Court, and a few blocks away from the Library of Congress. Work is about two miles away (only three subway stops, I'm told), just a few blocks from the White House and the Washington Post buildig.

As much as I'm panicking in a "I only know two people there! I have to leave my cats for three months!" sort of way, I'm getting really excited. This is going to be an amazing opportunity. As much as I love History, it's going to be amazing to be in a place where I can really be immersed in historical documents and places. I can't wait to tour Congress and hopefully see them in action. I'm sad that I won't get to hear oral arguments at the Supreme Court, but it'll be fun to see the building. I have never described myself as patriotic, although I am really interested in politics and history, so I think this will be a great place to "learn about America."

I have an idealized notion that this trip will give me a deeper understanding of this nation and the government. I certainly won't change my core beliefs, and the things I'm most upset about with this government will still be instilled in me, but I imagine politics are more interesting up close in the city where everything's happening.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Proud of myself

I'd like to share that today, after several hours of work and just a teeny bit of googling, I achieved what may be the proudest accomplishment of my life — I completed today's Sunday New York Times Crossword.

Thank you, thank you. *Takes a bow*